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Middle East peace settlement depends on future of Turkish-Russian relations — Erdogan

Turkish President noted that two countries' joint steps in Syria were of great significance

SOCHI, September 29. /TASS/. A peace settlement process in the Middle East depends on the future bilateral relations between Turkey and Russia, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday.

"The strengthening of the Russian-Turkish bilateral relations will be of great use," Erdogan said during bilateral talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Russia’s southern resort city of Sochi on Wednesday.

"Our joint steps in Syria are of great significance," the Turkish leader continued. "The peaceful settlement in this region depends on bilateral relations between Russia and Turkey."

Last week, Turkish president said speaking to journalists on board of his presidential aircraft that "the meeting with [Russian President] Putin was significant," because "Turkey and Russia are the two countries playing an important role in the region."

Erdogan said at that time he hoped that following his upcoming talks with Putin "an important decision would be made," based on bilateral relations, which would later "enter an active stage."

The Kremlin's press service announced earlier that Putin and Erdogan were going to discuss trade, economic cooperation and developments in Syria, Libya, Afghanistan as well as in the Caucasus.

Despite the pause in their face-to-face meetings, the two presidents kept in touch. They held regular telephone conversations and this past March, they participated in a special online ceremony heralding the launch of a project to build a third reactor at the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in the Mersin Province of Turkey.

The leaders reached the current, high-level meeting with a rather extensive number of issues to discuss. The Syrian settlement, the traditional area of cooperation between Moscow and Ankara, needs to be thoroughly looked into, particularly the special agreement on Turkey’s countering terrorist groups in the Idlib de-escalation zone.

The Turkish president was also pinning high hopes on his upcoming meeting to constructively hash over the issue of Syria. "Not only will we discuss Idlib, but also the situation in Syria in general: what we achieved and how to move forward. We will also make important decisions regarding our bilateral relations," Erdogan told Turkish reporters during his US visit.